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An Eyewitness Report from The Asbury Revival- Jeff McCall

Jeff McCall is the regular contributor to our Church Blog and is the guitarist on the church worship team, a Junior Church teacher and preaches occasionally on Sunday Nights. In light of the recent news of a rumored revival taking place at Asbury University, a Wesleyan Christian College in Wilmore, Kentucky, Jeff decided to drive down to the campus to see for himself what exactly was taking place at this College. The following are his thoughts for our blog post of the month.

The recent revival that happened has for me brought up a lot of questions about
the Holy Spirit and revivals in general. I was very interested in what was happening
in Kentucky and even drove out there hoping to see a great movement of the Holy
Spirit. In addition to all the cows that are not part of the Ocean County
It was a very large gathering of people from all over the country. The line to get
into services was probably at least a mile long. I was inspired to see so many
people inspired by a possible revival. I’m sure another Great Revival is the greatest
hope of many around the world. It’s certainly something I would love to see.

I can’t say I felt God’s presence there more than I have at other times in my life,
and of course, that is not how the Spirit works anyway, and I can’t say what was
happening in anyone else either but my impression was that some were in the
spirit and some were trying to work up an emotion similar to how someone might
at a concert. I still think it was worth going. It was a great reminder of the
importance of the Holy Spirit’s ministry and the commands of the scripture such
as 1st Thessalonians 5:19 which says “Quench not the Spirit” or Galatians 5:16
which says “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the
flesh.” And also a reminder of how in many churches the Spirit is either talked
about falsely or not at all, even though the Bible warns in Romans 8:9- “But you
are not in the flesh, but in the spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
Anyone who has watched TBN for any period of time knows that there are many fake
manifestations of the Spirit,

But anyone that is Christian also knows there is a Holy Spirit who is capable of anything and abides with us forever.

When it comes to the doctrines of the holy
spirit, and all biblical doctrines really, we don’t want to depart too far “to the right
hand or the left” but be centered on what the scripture says. For one thing,
we need to realize that God is with those who believe wherever they go, while at
the same time realizing that at times a group of people can be simultaneously
filled with the spirit. One YouTube video I saw made the point that we don’t need to
look for a Holy Spirit “hotspot” like we are cell phones. You don’t have to be in a
certain place to be in the Spirit. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall
I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, thou art there: if I make my
bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in
the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right
hand shall hold me.” (psalm 139:7) However we do have examples of the Holy
Spirit falling upon many people at once the recent revival that happened has for me
brought up a lot of questions…e. (Acts 2, Acts 19)

Another thing we should realize is that while the Holy Spirit can affect our emotions
some try to work themselves into an emotional state in substitution to
being spirit filled. I’m reminded of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The prophets of
Baal would shout and cry and jump on the altar, even cutting themselves. They
would do this for hours to try and invoke their God. But it was Elijah’s simple
prayer that made the fire fall. Because he was praying according to the will of God
which he already knew. But also we know the Holy Spirit can give us peace. “And
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and
minds through Christ Jesus.” And it can give us joy. “For the kingdom of God is not
a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy
Spirit.” (Romans 14:17) I have heard some people say these are not emotions but
they have not convinced me personally. Happiness is an emotion but joy isn’t? Well
I’m not so sure about that. (Although the pleasures of sin are not the same as the
joy from God.) (Hebrews 11:25)
Another thing we should balance is that we shouldn’t judge individuals too harshly,
but not to the point of neglecting scriptural guidelines. We see Moses warns
Joshua about this. “Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and
the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those
registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the
camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in
the camp.” And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth,
said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my
sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put
his Spirit on them!” (from numbers 11) But at the same time, we all know the verse
that says “let all things be done decently and in order.” When I see someone
speaking in tongues I am a little hesitant to say they are faking, although
many have admitted to that after being saved and growing up in a very charismatic
background, so I certainly have my suspicions. While attending an assembly of
God church once I heard someone say “begin speaking in tongues, and if
you doubt you are it’s from the devil.” What a sad state of affairs we are in as a
nation if a teaching like that can exist in a large church without the congregants
realizing how unscriptural that is! Paul forbids the speaking of tongues in the
church unless there is one to interpret and others to judge. (1st Corinthians 14) If
this prescription was followed I would estimate that at least 99% of the speaking in
tongues in this country would disappear.

We also need to understand that the Holy Spirit acts at the sole discretion of God,
but at the same time, different actions are more conducive to it. God
can show up when we are going the wrong way or even walking in the flesh like he
did to warn Baalim. But in a practical sense, we should realize there are actions we
can take that are more conducive to our spiritual lives. Like the verse say “draw
near to God and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8)

Like what Wayne Forte once said, many others who went out to preach the gospel,

missions trips are where many people
more strongly feel the presence of God; because they are working on the great
commission. Prayer and the study of God’s word are also helpful. I believe this revival
as it started was just spontaneous prayer and confession. I’d hate to say it, and
only God knows for sure, but I don’t think that what continued was as intense of an
outpouring as what was experienced in that first chapel service… I didn’t get there
until the 10th day anyway so I can’t speak for the rest of the time before that.
Finally, we should realize that the spirit doesn’t come and go, Jesus said “I am with
you always”.. but there are times we can more or less be in the spirit. I once heard
someone say “we don’t get more of the Spirit he gets more of us” which may be
true. The apostle John even said in Revelations “I was in the spirit on the lords
day” If John himself can have variation in his closeness to god; the disciple whom
Jesus loved that was leaning on him at the last supper, then we shouldn’t
be surprised if we can’t do any better. That is why we have verses like the one
before which says “don’t quench the Spirit” and Ephesians 5:18 which says “And
be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
At the end of the day, we should continue to hope and pray for revival, and know
that it is possible. It’s nice to sometimes see things that seem to be a ray
of hope. But no matter what happens in the world we should continue to walk with
God in our own lives trying to be more in the Spirit.

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